Thursday, July 24, 2014
Introducing Mood 24/7, a new tool that helps you track your mood from day to day using your mobile phone. Try it today!

Friday, October 01, 2010 ct girl, Community Member, asks

Q: How can I help my mother who is suffering from mental illness when she does not believe there is anything wrong with her and thinks I am lying?

My mother is suffering from schizophrenia and refuses to believe she is ill. What can I do? Since I was a child, my mother has been mentally ill. She does not like most foods, she takes no pleasure in life. when i was pregnant, she would not look at me pregnant and refused to hold the babies when they were born. she will say she has been here or there but in reality this has not happened. she will say she met some old woman at the mall and this stranger followed her home. she will say that she got pregnant without actual intercourse. she will say that the doctor had to look up her anus to see her pregnancy. she thinks people knock on her door to sell her illegal drugs....the list goes and on and too much mention. what can I do since she refuses now to see me for the past one year and refuses to believe she is ill? she lives in my town and so i will see her walking around aimlessly sometimes even in the supermarket walking around touching all the food items and then walking out of the market without any purchases. HELP.

Answer This
Answers (1)
Christina Bruni, Health Guide
10/ 2/10 7:48pm

Hi ct girl,

 

You are going through a lot right now and undoubtedly had a hard time living as a kid with a mother who had a mental illness.

 

I'm wondering if you mother is a senior citizen who can have some kind of assistance given her like someone to come to her house or apartment to talk with her during the day.

 

Has she ever taken medication?  Upwards of 50 percent of the people diagnosed with schizophrenia have a symptom called anosognosia which is the lack of awareness that they have an illness.  So because they don't think they're sick they don't take the medication or stay in treatment.

 

Can your mother otherwise take care of herself?  Where I live there is a residence for older adults who have mental illnesses who are cared for by staff who monitor their medication.

 

So many people in your shoes have written in to the Connection here over the past four years that I've been the Community leader for this web site.  I like to treat each situation on its own although some of what I said to the other people could apply to you.

 

The criteria for involuntary treatment with medication or an involuntary stay at a psych hospital for nearly every state in the U.S. is that a person is an immediate danger to herself or someone else.  Some states have Assertive Community Treatment (ACT teams, the Baker Act, the name varies for each state but is basically Asssertive Community Treatment) where you can apply to a judge to have your loved one legally required to take medication and court mandated to be in treatment.

 

Thus I can tell you that if you feel your mother's condition has deteriorated to the point where she can't take care of herself, is wandering aimlessly and would be a target to be a victim of some kind of crime:

 

I would look into how you could get forced treatment for your mother.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) chapter in your city or town will be able to advise you on where to take your mother and what you can do.  Call their national hotline at (800) 950-NAMI (6264) to get the name and phone number of your local chapter.

 

Your mother is hurting.  Please understand this is not how your mother would choose to be, it is her illness causing her to behave this way.  I think you understand this.  Not everyone who has a mental illness is at a good place in their lives.

 

So I would try to get her help even if you are afraid of her response to you.  Right now you have no contact with her, and if you tried to get her help and she refused contact with you after your attempt to help, you would be in the same boat.

 

Thus I would take action now even if that involves trying to get some involuntary treatment.  Are you an only child?  Do you have a brother or sister or aunt or uncle who could help you in this regard?

 

You could certainly in my opinion make the case that your mother is a danger to herself or at least putting herself in danger by wandering around aimlessly, especially if she is 50 or older and especially if she is a senior citizen.

 

Call your local NAMI.  Its members will support you and give you more advice than I could give you alone on this web site.  The will know about the ACT laws in your state.

 

In closing I want to say I know how hard this is for you.

 

Regards,

Christina

Reply
ct girl, Community Member
10/ 3/10 12:00pm

Thank you so much for your excellent advice...I will call the numbers you gave me and I will see what i can do.

 

I am an only child and so this is extremely difficult for me.  She is 75 years old.  So this will not be getting easier for her.  I have noticed through the years she has gotten worse. 

 

Thank you again for your kind understanding.

Reply
cindyx33x, Community Member
1/ 7/14 11:40pm

My boyfriend's mother is also suffering from a mental illness and refuses to believe that she is sick. She is suicidal. She has mentioned to me and my boyfriend several times that she wants to kill herself, specifically by overdosing on pills. She either is bipolar or seriously depressed. She also has an addiction problem with xanax. That really concerns me because she works at a hospital. Also, my boyfriend and I would check on the pill bottles and the bottle would be full and then the next day there would only be about 5 pills left. Every other day she comes home in a bad mood and on a rampage. Me and my boyfriend literally avoid her because it is so bad. What scares me the most is that she is a very good manipulator and liar. She is also a compulsive liar, I do not know what is real or fake because she lies so much. She does groceries about 5 times a year. There have been times that she has come home in such a bad mood that she just grabs hard liqour and says she hates everyone and wants to be alone and goes to her room and finishes the whole bottle alone. She spends days locked in her room with her pills. There is a lot more. WE NEED HELP PLEASE.  

Reply
Answer This

Important:
We hope you find this general health information helpful. Please note however, that this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. No information in the Answers above is intended to diagnose or treat any condition. The views expressed in the Answers above belong to the individuals who posted them and do not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media. Remedy Health Media does not review or edit content posted by our community members, but reserves the right to remove any material it deems inappropriate.

By ct girl, Community Member— Last Modified: 01/07/14, First Published: 10/01/10